Say Psych: Album Review, ‘Horse Stories’ by Josefin Ohrn + The Liberation

The vast majority music that I listen to is, for want of a better word, dirty. It usually has lots of fuzzed up guitar and other effects: sonics that are foggy and dense. Every so often though a record comes along that is clean and clear that I just really take to my heart. Such a record has to be bloody good to drag me away from my fug-filled reverie because why would I want to move away from what I like and know I like.

The latest in a very short line of albums to do this is the new release from Josefin Ohrn + The Liberation, yet another innovative ‘psych’ combo from Stockholm (like Goat, Les Big Byrd and Hills to name just three). In one way it stays within my comfort zone, being released by Rocket Recordings: a label who very rarely release something that I do not like. This, however, is something else. While it is an album that most definitely has psychedelic leanings with its motorik beats and Can/ Neu intensity in places, there is more than that going on here. This is also a pop album, and an album that is as cool as fuck. This is no manufactured X Factor shite, this is the real deal.

From the opener ‘Dunes’  this album uplifts you in mind, body and spirit. It is at times great pop reminiscent of Moon Duo’s forays towards dance music: nearly seven minutes of high energy that leaves you feeling light and somehow clean. ‘Sunny Afternoon’ is a little more downbeat and gothic in outlook with Ohrn’s Siousie Sioux vocals and its tribal drumming, but with some subtle 60s pop guitar flourishes taking you somewhere else entirely.

It is tracks such as ‘Talk’ and ‘Take Me Beyond’ which really raise this album up for me though. They have a melodies that just make you melt. The former has a certain lo-fi quality to it, while the latter is one of the most beautiful tracks I have heard this year…I get goosebumps listening to it.

Elsewhere ‘Green Blue Fields’ is more firmly in the direction of dance music, but again with that motorik melody that helps remind me of where we can join the genre dots; while ‘Horse Danse’ and ‘You Have Arrived’ are slower tracks which accentuate the sheer sensuality of this set.

‘Horse Stories’ is an album that helps pull me out of my normal listening habits and allows me some perspective. It reminds me that there is more to ‘fuzz’, ‘drone’ and ‘psych’ while including elements of all three. It is an album of great beauty and positivity that deserves a far wider audience.

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